NEWARK, NJ - MAY 19: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers scores a third period goal past Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on May 19, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers have an opportunity to take a strange hold of this series again ... again. After a 3-0 victory Saturday afternoon in Game 3, the Rangers will try to walk out of the Rock with a victory in Game 4 along with a convincing 3-1 lead in this Eastern Conference Finals.
Easier said than done.
Let's go over some stats about this playoff run the Rangers are having:
- 3-0 in Game 1's.
- 0-3 in Game 2's.
- 3-0 in Game 3's.
- Thus far, 0-2 in Game 4's.
If the Rangers can manage to change that tonight, they will take a firm grip on this series and force the New Jersey Devils to play an elimination game at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night. If the Devils win Game 4, then the Rangers and Devils will fight for momentum in Game 5.
Join me after the jump for more.
The playoffs are full of these moments, and for the Rangers it's an opportunity to give themselves a major leg up for the first time this postseason. The Rangers already took back home ice advantage with their Game 3 victory, but to have an elimination game that wasn't a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden? That would be huge.
The reality of the situation, however, is that it's going to take a complete team effort. The Rangers have outscored the Devils 6-1 in third periods this year, which is fantastic. It's also a sign that the Rangers haven't had the best periods during the first two stanzas of the hockey game.
A complete effort tonight will give the Rangers a really good shot at taking a big 3-1 lead in this series.
There were good signs during the Game 3 win, mainly the resurgence of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Carl Hagelin; a line that was quiet in Game 2. We also saw Chris Kreider continue to impress, Dan Girardi score his third game-winning goal of the playoffs and Ryan McDonagh be Ryan McDonagh. Oh yeah, that Henrik Lundqvist was good too.
The Rangers can use an easier series this late in the playoffs.
Easier said than done.